Ecuador Presidential Election: Conservative Ex-Banker Lasso Emerges Winner

Former banker Guillermo Lasso won Ecuador’s presidential election on Sunday after his socialist opponent Andres Arauz conceded.

The 65-year-old got 52.52 percent of the vote with almost all votes counted, while left-wing candidate Andres Arauz received 47.48 percent of the vote, the electoral office announced late Sunday.

Arauz was seen as the protege of former president Rafael Correa and a win would have likely seen him continue Correa’s policy of “21st-century socialism’’, increased subsidies, and oppose the austerity programme demanded by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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Lasso meanwhile campaigned on a liberal economic platform and wanted to create jobs and attract foreign investors. He is a member of the ultra-conservative Opus Dei association and is strictly against same-sex marriage and abortion.

Lasso, is a third-time presidential candidate having finished second to Correa in 2013 and Moreno in 2017.

“For years I have dreamt of being allowed to serve Ecuadorians so that the country can advance and we can all have a better life. Today you have made that possible. It is the start of a new era of coming together,’” he told his supporters in the city of Guayaquil.

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Arauz conceded defeat and said he would phone his rival to congratulate him.

“I congratulate him on his electoral triumph today and I will show him our democratic convictions,” said Arauz.

The South American country was in a deep economic crisis due to the drop in oil prices and the Coronavirus pandemic. The previous president, Lenin Moreno, had recently seen his popularity plummet and did not stand for re-election.

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